Fat and Fabulous

My bathroom picture skills leave something to be desired.
My bathroom picture skills leave something to be desired.

Many people on my Twitter timeline watched the Victoria Secret Fashion Show last week. Of those that watched, the comments ranged from the impracticality of the lingerie shown to men drooling to women complaining about how good the women looked and how they paled in comparison to men complaining about the women complaining.

I was eating ice cream and watching reruns of The A-Team at the time, but I did catch a snippet of it and saw a woman in elaborate tiger lingerie and my first thought was, “Holy hell, I couldn’t wear that. I’d get shot by some big game hunter or a redneck drinking shine on his porch.” That probably wasn’t supposed to be my first thought, but I’m crap about getting it right the first time.

Here’s the thing, I don’t watch the Victoria Secret Fashion Show because it holds no interest for me. I can’t fit into their lingerie, practical or impractical, I don’t really need lingerie, and though I do appreciate the female form, their models are too skinny for me. It creeps me out if I can see your spine when you bend over. You might be a very lovely person and we might get along swimmingly, but still. Bones go on the inside. That’s just one of my irrational quirks.

And I certainly don’t watch it to punish myself. There’s no sense in me looking at underwear I’m never going to fit into or compare myself to women I’m never going to look like. I was built to plow fields, so I’ll never lose enough weight to be thin. Being a size 4 is impossible if my bone structure won’t allow it. My self-esteem is kind of important and I try to go out of my way to nurture it. Watching HM Murdock fly helicopters and do impressions of Paul Lynde and aggravate BA Baracus is way better for my self-image than watching thin women walk around in their underwear. But that’s just me.

I try to maintain a mindset of fat and fabulous. I try to make that be my center. I can be both. I realize most people don’t believe this and in fact, try to fight it as hard as they can, and that’s cool. Everyone has their own agenda and this one is mind. I feel it’s better for my mental health to rock the body I’m currently using. If this body loses forty pounds, then I’ll rock it forty pounds lighter (I’ve done it before). If this body loses 100 pounds, I’ll rock that one, too (but I bet I’d be able to see my spine, so I’d probably spend a good portion of my time creeping myself out, too). The same would be done if I gained twenty pounds.

If it’s mine, then I’m going to own it. I realize that really offends people that want me to change to fit the ideal. I realize that it automatically puts me at a huge disadvantage in the realm of romance because society dictates that I’m not allowed to have what I want unless I conform or am willing to settle for much less than I want. I realize that I’m going to have to be harshly judged until the end of time and have to constantly correct people’s misconceptions.

But I also realize that I’m not the loser in this situation either. Your hang-ups about my looks aren’t my problem. It’s a consequence of being fabulous.

So good on Victoria and her secrets and her model and her questionable underwear.

But it doesn’t do a thing for me.

Socially Awkward Kind of Gal

socialization aftermath

I have many great abilities and talents, but social skills are not one of them. The concern about this has been present since I was very small. The school thought I was very bright and wanted me to skip kindergarten. My mother, while she agreed that I was smart, declined the offer. She didn’t think I was ready socially.

It can be argued that I’m still not ready socially.

I do much better online than in person. I’m very comfortable with words, reading and interpreting them and using them to communicate. I get the opportunity to pick my words more carefully and say exactly what I mean. In person, I feel under pressure to communicate so things don’t always come out right. Not to mention that whole lack of tact thing I have going on. Through writing I can at least catch more of those gaffes.

I’m better when I’m with people I know and am comfortable with. There’s less pressure to communicate because these people know what I mean and if they don’t, they’re more likely to ask what the hell I’m talking about or call me out for being tactless and make me rephrase my thoughts. I’m not as concerned with not knowing how to socialize because those people KNOW I don’t know how to socialize and they forgive me (or at least tolerate me).

With new people, the pressure is on. I come across as rather shy at first because I’m trying to figure people out, trying to see what I can get away with humor-wise. I’m watching the new people to try to figure out how to appropriately interact with them because I honestly don’t know. I’m terrible at reading social cues. I have no idea the best way to end a conversation with someone when I’m done talking. I’m not always sure when another person ends a conversation with me. And when the conversation is over, hours later, I’m wandering if I did okay or if the person I talked with thinks I’m weird. I am weird, but I don’t want to come off as creepy weird.

Part of my problem, I know, is that I don’t interpret information like other people. My roommate loves to point out that I don’t think like normal people and she’s right and I think that’s part of my socialization problem.

The rest of it, I think, has to do with insecurity. I am insecure in places. I know myself too well not to be. I know my faults and when I’m interacting with people, it sometimes sets off that part of my brain. I wonder why these people are talking to me and what they really think about me. I know I shouldn’t care about what other people think of me, but in a way I do. I don’t want them to misinterpret my awkwardness and lack of social skills as something else. I have plenty of poor qualities to turn them off, but I want them to be turned off by the qualities I have, not the qualities they think I have.

I try to practice socializing. I keep thinking that if I keep using what little skills I have, they will develop and I will get better at it. When I was working part-time at Wal-Mart, the regular interaction with other human beings really helped. Since then, there is so much rust that’s built up and my once thriving skills have atrophied with disuse. When you’re not a social creature by nature, force is the only way you can build up these skills and keep them working. I haven’t been forced to use them and haven’t been forcing myself to use them.

And it shows.

I’m going to keep practicing, though. I’ll find ways to force myself to use my social skills and then I’ll force myself to use them. No doubt I’ll still be awkward, but if I could be less awkward, I’d be happy with that.

After all, communication is important.

Avoiding the Limelight

Teenagers crave attention. With the benefit of a few years of distance, I can see that clearly. Everything that happens to two them is either the best, but usually the worst thing ever. Every notable quality about them is better than any of your notable qualities. Every incident, word, interaction, look, and choice is magnified to the extreme, all for the sake of LOOK AT ME!

Now, I’m not just picking on the teenagers I know now. I was just as guilty of all of those things when I was their age and so were my friends. I have more than one memory of me acting in such a way that just makes me cringe now. If my parents had been paying better attention, I wouldn’t have blamed them for locking me in a closet for being annoying.

However, I was really BAD at getting attention. It usually backfired or was in some way ineffective. Mostly, I was out attention-got by someone else that was better at getting attention. In competitions like that, I’m woefully unskilled to compete.

Some people grow out of this ultimate need for attention. Some don’t. Some just evolve their attention getting methods.

I went in the opposite direction.

Once I realized that I wasn’t good at getting attention by any means, I gave up on trying to get it. And when those around me continued to get attention and tried to get attention, it really turned me off to trying to get it.

You know those people that have to one-up you? The ones whose lives are always worse/better than yours depending on the situtation? Yeah. I’ve been acquainted with too many attention-getters like that. It’s turned me off to sharing bits and pieces of my life because I’m tired of being used as a stepping stone to conversation stardom. I’m tired of being reminded about how their lives are so much MORE than mine.

So, I don’t share. Sometimes, I’d like to, but I think better of it and keep it myself. In the end, I have secrets.

I don’t tell people about my writing projects. There are people I haven’t told about my jewelry making. No one at the former day job new the actual extent of my new gig. I’ve gotten very comfortable with operating in the shadows and being overlooked.

But, it’s hurting me as well. You can’t live your whole life unseen (unless you’re some sort of James Bond spy, and I know I’m not cool enough for that life). I’ve gone so far the other way when it comes to seeking attention that to get attention is disconcerting. I get almost paranoid about it. Why are they looking at me? What do they want? Why does what I do matter to them?

It also doesn’t help because I’m at a point in my life when I need attention. I need the attention to create and grow a fanbase. I need the attention to sell books, sell jewelry, sell myself.

Going so long avoiding attention, I’m struggling trying to figure out ways to acquire that kind of attention.

It’s like wearing make-up. If you go for an extended period of time not wearing make-up and then you put it on, you think you look like a painted doll, even if you don’t. If you go for a period of time not trying to get attention, then you start trying, you think you’re being an annoying in a “hey, look at me!” kind of way.

As nice as it is in the darkened wings of the stage, I need to work my way back towards the limelight, even if I can only stand its glare for short periods of time.